I’ve mentioned in passing about the time spent in Auroville for last semester’s design studio, but I haven’t really sat down and wrote about the whole experience. I thought I’d do a little blog series about that week in April, which my feelings have shifted slightly since immediately returning. I won’t give you a history lesson or anything major about the township in India, but to learn more about that click here or check out my other blog, Adventures by Anthony for a couple articles.
First of all, what was I even doing in this eco-community in the south of India? For Studio E we were to design one of two projects, an extension to an educational centre for a village just outside of Auroville or a building for the Sustainable Lively Institute. Now we could have probably designed these projects without flying the some-8,000km each way but we all know how valuable it is to actually visit a site in person.
In terms of getting there, it was relatively easy. A eight-hour flight with a couple hour layover in Malaysia, followed by a couple more hours of flying landed us in Chennai. Stepping out of the airport I was hit with humidity I’ve never experienced! I haven’t exactly been a frequent visitor or resident in humid climates, so my body was in shock.
From the airport our class boarded two buses which drove the 3 or so hours to Auroville. This was my first experience of Indian traffic, and let’s just say I was glad I wasn’t driving. We made a pit-stop about half-way into our ride for a much needed leg stretch and snacks. The second half of the drive not many of us remember as we were all fast asleep, we were exhausted.
Arriving in Auroville, we were dropped off at our accommodation. We spent a little bit of time deciding who was going to bunk with who, and then started to head off to our rooms for some rest before dinner. It was during this time I started feeling extremely sick, and even had to duck behind a tree to, uhh, well, yeah. I think it was a combination of the climate shock and withdrawals from caffeine (given my addiction to RedBull) so I had a little lie down in bed.
Before I write the next part, it should be noted that in the midst of working out roommates for the week, it ended up that I’d be rooming by myself for the week. Which a part of me was kind glad about, but for a brief period I started to feel homesick. Laying in bed, by myself, slightly sick, extremely sweaty for no reason other than humidity, I started to miss home. Thankfully those feelings past once we all met at the dining room for dinner. After dinner we went for a stroll, when it cooled down a lot, and to be honest I don’t remember much afterwards. My only assumption is we came back, maybe chatted a little bit then went to bed. After all the flying, bus rides and sickness, sleep was much needed. However for some reason a few of us planned to wake up at sunrise and go for a bike ride…
This article is Part 1 of the That Week in Auroville series where I’ll be sharing the experiences from the trip. To be updated for upcoming articles, be sure to subscribe to the mailing list. Or click here for the latest-range of articles available. Or if you can’t wait to read what happened, I have a little daily vlog series on the Adventures by Anthony YouTube, so click here to watch them. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about Auroville, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.